Survival is not Enough: Zooming, Evolution, and the Future of Your Company

Abridged Audiobook

Written By: Seth Godin

Narrated By: Seth Godin

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Date: August 2006

Duration: 3 hours 0 minutes


As we wrestle with the crash of the New Economy, people are starting to realize just how burned out they are. Why is there so much pain in our business lives? If all you do at work is hope to survive another day, your job can't be much fun.

Here's a groundbreaking way to grow businesses that don't just survive change--they thrive on it. By harnessing the power of evolution (instead of fighting it) companies can prosper regardless of how turbulent the world becomes.

We're all working too hard. Putting in more hours than we'd like, fretting about the future, uncertain about our roles and our goals. We work too hard to hope for just survival. Our goal must be to thrive and prosper, not just get by.

Why do some companies thrive while other companies, though similar, just fade away? Companies are very much like species. They are evolving right before our eyes. However, unlike animals, companies try to fight evolution and insist on top-down change instead. The message of this book is, "Don't change--evolve."

For eighty years, Corning was quite happy making housewares out of glass. Then, facing a dismal future, management realized they needed to take action. In one wrenching change, management pushed the company into a new era of high-profit, high-technology fiber, but the fallout was wounding for everybody involved. Dramatic change can work, but more often, it leads to a lot of unhappiness. It's just too hard for humans to tolerate on a regular basis. Change is scary. We're genetically programmed to avoid it.

Most of us view change as a threat, and survival as the goal. This book changes all that. It contains an idea worth spreading: we can evolve our companies the same way nature evolves a species. If we organize for the more organic change that comes from evolution we can eliminate much of the fear and the pain and enable our organizations to accelerate with the world around them.

Managers don't know how to talk about change and evolution. We know it's here and it's real and it's essential and it's painful, but we don't have the words for it. In this book, Seth Godin identifies a fundamental force of nature--evolution--and explains how and why it works. He then shows the reader a parallel process, demonstrating how evolution can be put to work in any organization, through incremental, or "mutating" steps, incorporating volatility into your planning, hiring practices, etc.

The first step in allowing a company to evolve is to eliminate the anti-change reflex that's genetically coded into each and every one of us. Once a company learns to zoom (to change without freaking out), it is much more likely to evolve. And a company that evolves can reach runaway: the happy state in which positive outcomes are reinforced and the company grows faster and faster and becomes ever more profitable.

For the last five years, Godin has repeatedly put his money where his mouth is, demonstrating the power of his books by living their advice. He used the tactics of Permission Marketing to drive the book up the bestseller list. He followed the advice of Unleashing the Ideavirus to turn his treatise into a living example of an ideavirus. And now, as a committed zoomer, he's describing to his legions of fans how to turn their company into one that can zoom from one change to another. You can't manage change--change manages you.